THE SELF-titled ‘three mask-ateers’ whose idea was rejected by the multi-millionaires on Dragon’s Den have had the last laugh – with the sale of their hugely successful company.
Mask-arade appeared in the den in 2009 when they tried to secure a ten per cent stake in their personalised and celebrity mask business for £50,000. All five dragons refused to part with their cash.
But after the runaway success of the Southam-based company, creators Ray Duffy, Dean Walton and Chris O’Nyan featured on a follow-up show as ‘the ones who got away’.
Despite making over £2million a year, the ‘mask-ateers’ have decided to sell their company in an undisclosed deal to Oxfordshire-based costume manufacturing giant Rubies, which turns over £79million annually.
While Dean and Chris have decided to leave the business, Ray will remain as commercial director.
Rubie’s vice-president Chris Isitt said: “We are thrilled to have Mask-arade join the Rubie’s family. “We look forward to helping the Mask-arade brand achieve its potential both in the UK and the rest of the world.
“It’s great that Ray has agreed to stay on to drive this mission and we also acknowledge the huge contribution Dean and Chris have made from the start in establishing the business with Ray and creating demand.”
The company – which supplies masks to high street retailers WH Smiths and River Island – will continue to run in Southam with Ray at the helm of the 16-strong team.
Leamington law firm Wright Hassall helped secure the deal with a team led by solicitors Steve Halkett and Luke Moulton.
And while Mask-arade make masks of the Queen’s face and One Direction members, to name a few, they decided to made some of the two solicitors to celebrate the deal.
Steve said: “Mask-arade is a fantastic success story with the business growing rapidly. “Ray, Dean and Chris have worked extremely hard to drive the company forward and create strong demand for its high quality and innovative products, which has culminated in the company becoming part of the Rubie’s group.”